That Cuba has already developed four vaccines or inoculations against different types of cancer is without doubt important news for humanity. The World Health Organisation says each year about 8 million people die from this illness.
However, the international mainstream media have almost totally ignored this news.
Last year, Cuba patented the first therapeutic vaccine against advanced lung cancer in the world, called CIMAVAX-EGF. In January, the second one, called Racotumomab, was announced.
Clinical testing in 86 countries shows that these vaccines, although they don’t cure the illness, do managed to reduce tumours and allow for a stable stage of the illness, thereby increasing hope and quality of life.
The Molecular Immunology Centre of Havana, a Cuban state organisation, is the creator of all these vaccines.
In 1985 it developed the vaccine for meningitis B, the only one in the world, and later others that fight hepatitis B and dengue. For years, the centre has been conducting research to develop vaccines against AIDS-HIV.
The other Cuban state-run centre, Laboratories LABIOFAM, has developed homeopathic medicine for cancer such as VIDATOX, created from the blue scorpion’s venom. Cuba exports these medicines to 26 countries, and takes part in joint companies with China, Canada, and Spain.
All of this goes against the well-enforced stereotype, reinforced by the media silence regarding advances achieved by Cuba and other global south (so-called Third World) countries, that vanguard medical research takes place only in so-called developed countries.
Undoubtedly, the Cuban state obtains an economic benefit from the international sale of these pharmaceutical products. However, its philosophy of investigation and commercialisation is diametrically opposed to the business practices of the large pharmaceutical industry.
Nobel Prize for Medicine winner Richard J Roberts recently denounced the pharmaceutical industry for orienting its research not to curing illnesses, but to developing medicine for chronic ailments, which is much more economically profitable.
Roberts suggested the illnesses that are particular to poorer countries, because of their low profitability, simply are not researched. That is why 90% of the budget for research is aimed at illnesses suffered by 10% of the world’s population.
Cuba’s public medicine industry, even though it is one of the main sources of foreign currency for the country, is guided by radically different principles.
In the first place, its research is aimed at, in a large part, developing vaccines that prevent illnesses and as a consequence, reduce the population’s spending on medicine.
In an article in the prestigious magazine Science, researchers from Stanford University (California), Paul Drain and Michele Barry, said Cuba has better health indicators than the United States, despite spending up to 20 times less on the sector.
The reason for this is the absence, in the Cuban model, of commercial pressures and encouragement by pharmaceutical companies, and a successful strategy of educating the population about preventative healthcare.